By: Taren Vaughan
Participating in sports is usually the most popular past time for African American children. It gives them something fun to do with their friends and classmates. Playing sports also serves as a way to stay physically active. So if there are so many positive aspects of sport participation, why is it that some black children to do not play them?
There are a number of things that can determine whether or not a child participates in sports. Three of the major reasons why kids do not play sports are due to the lack of interest in playing, the costs associated with sport participation and the time that goes into playing the sport. If these factors affect two parent homes, imagine what they do to African American children coming from single parent homes.
In 2000, US Census Bureau reported that 65 percent of African American children grow up without a father in the home. For boys in particular, this could affect their drive to play sports. There are families that do not have the mother in the household which can equally affect a girl’s motivation to play sports. Our parents often times serve as influences when it comes to sport participation. So when they are not in our lives, we lose the urge to play. The absence of a mother or father in the household can have an affect on a children’s involvement in athletics.
Affordability is a huge reason why African American children don’t participate in sports related activities. The cost to play for an AAU basketball or Pop Warner football team can cost hundreds of dollars. It can be much more than that if a parent is paying for more than one child. Membership fees are not the only cost associated with joining these organizations. Parents are responsible for buying their children equipment and uniforms. And if your child is adamant about perfecting their skills, they may want to get a performance trainer which can cost lots of money. How could a single parent possibly afford all of this?
Another reason why black children do not participate in sports as much is due to time restraints. Single parents are normally the ones who are responsible for getting their children back and forth from activities. This limits the child as to what they can participate in and how often. Sports require attendance to both practices and games which can be hard for a single parent to do.
These factors can be determining factors when it comes to our children’s participation in sports. There are single parents out there who manage to have their children in sports programs. But the task can be difficult depending on your financial situation and work schedule.